It struck me that our scheme is somewhat like the idea of the living machine except instead of a mass of complex plant life, each component of our building acts like one of those plants, harvesting its part of the energy/resource and passing it on to the next in line. Wiki has an article on how living machines work, which is worth at least a perusal.
(image: mygiantrobot.com)

It also reminds me of that Le Corbusier quote "..a machine for living in.." I think the more we think of buildings as living breathing organisms or at least organism-like object the easier it is to design in the way we hypothesized.

It' s hard to find a carbon neutral solution to a carbon-breathing object if we think of it as an unmovable, unchangeable rock, the inevitable solution to that always being.. "throw it out and start again", which, isn't a viable solution if we're trying to be sufficient/sustainable. Perhaps if we investigate the design as a system of organs working together for a central purpose we may have more luck.

Our system is a lot like a living system in a way as each component can't really survive without the other, but I like that it also has a parasitic quality to it as well. It easy to think of the parasite as a needless object but it's also possible to imagine situations where the person with the parasite benefits as much as the parasitic organism does. That is, perhaps, what makes our proposal the most interesting, it gives as much (maybe more) than it takes, which seems like its the guiding principle of self-sustaining buildings.

More giant robots less Cutler and I think we'll have something that shows sustainable design doesn't have to be soul-suckingly bad boring.


More Ideas concepts for IAAC, Meeting Notes

Here are the notes/general ideas from last night as well as my memory would allow.
feel free to add/delete....

I think we've all agreed that our version of self-sufficiency is more of a symbiotic type of relationship as opposed to an isolated one.

The building, rather then becoming the end point of another energy chain become the starting point of a cyclical loop of existing waste energy chains.

The most obvious and simple precedent is provided by nature.Oxygen breathing lifeforms and Carbon breathing plant-life live in a symbiotic harmony.

We've discussed that our design doesn't just piggyback buildings in a literal sense but also utilizes waste (radiated energy) from existing building typologies. For example our water supply may be a filtered stream from runoff from larger buildings air-conditioning units, etc.

Other precedents include the anglerfish and the bioluminecent bacteria that live on it. The bacteria provide light which acts as a lure for prey for the anglerfish, the bacteria survive in turn on the decaying skin of the anglerfish.

This means that instead of just building a new object, no mater how green, we've effected change not only upon the new system but we've improved the existing system as well. This allows us to retain historic and current architecture with out the environmental drag those buildings would provide, and also helps us avoid the destruction of those buildings and the economic, environmental, and historical/design impacts that come from that.

It should also noted that building an additional structure no mater how efficient, still incures at least some drain on existing infrastructure, the trick is to make our existing building more efficient by using their waste energy and resources to our own gain. In this case we've added a new building and made the old one more effcient as well, which improves the system not just individual items within that system.

There is a certain ego to the idea of the typical self-sufficient house located like an isolated pod in the wild, the assumption being that everyone should design that way. Much like the last few competitions we've found that the green movement readily ignores the established infrastructure in an effort to create new ones, that demolition in turn wreaks more environmental damage then the existing infrastructure itself. The environment is what we've made it, the sooner we realize that and attempt to learn to occupy that environment as opposed to some utopian "green" ideal the sooner we can achieve true "green" design.

So our next step is to explore what types of resources buildings typically expel and how then can be utilized as energy sources for our structure. I think we agreed that condenser units are probably one good starting point, I think glare may be another, and I think we should look into how are building might contribute to the relationship.



Just kicking around some of the ideas from the last meeting, feel free to add/change...

Cardboard Containers:
Using the packaging from most products to create structures, every packaged item would include a number of "pop-out" parts that could be used by individuals to construct shelter. This uses the currently exploding consumer market for our own benefit.

Module Housing:
This would be a set design on a standard lot, that could be built/rebuilt due to it's lego like construction methods.

Fully Robotic:
This would be a hyper-designed building that anticipated and updated itself based on the needs of the occupant.

Mix of highly skilled labor design (i.e. pre-fabricated complicated parts) and low labor(simple modules/construction methods) to get the best of both worlds. This would allow the building some flexibility as far as complex designs but also fit with our requirements of occupant built or updated.



Metonymized Precedents

I suppose these can be assumed to be metonymized objects as they are not in any sort of stable state and are in an act of transition. It's seems like if a piece of architecture is to be in a constant state of rupture that it would need to wobble or flex violently, but perhaps I'm missing the point..

more here.